Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) announced that it has successfully secured 279 megawatts of cutting-edge thin film solar panels from First Solar for the upcoming Lawrence County Solar Project in Lawrence County, Alabama. The project is slated for commercial operations in 2027, which marks a milestone in TVA’s commitment to expanding solar energy in the region.
TVA is placing a strong emphasis on solar power in the region. By 2025, it is projected that the area will host one of the largest fully vertically integrated solar manufacturing facilities in the United States. This milestone will be in sync with First Solar launching its fourth American factory. These developments signal a significant leap forward in clean energy generation for the region.
First Solar is making substantial investments in expanding its manufacturing capabilities in the United States. Currently boasting an annual nameplate capacity of over 6.5 gigawatts, the company aims to increase it to approximately 10.9 GWDC by 2026. This expansion plan involves investing around $1.3 billion. Part of this investment includes the construction of a new 3.5 GWDC facility in Lawrence County, requiring a significant investment of $1.1 billion. First Solar is also committed to enhancing its existing manufacturing facilities in Ohio, with an additional investment of $185 million.
As the largest solar manufacturer in the Western Hemisphere, First Solar is further demonstrating its dedication to research and development (R&D). The company has earmarked up to $370 million for the establishment of a specialized R&D innovation center in Perrysburg, Ohio, slated to be completed in 2024.
First Solar has achieved a remarkable feat with its advanced thin-film PV modules, designed and developed at its R&D centers in California and Ohio. These modules have set new industry standards for various critical factors, including quality, durability, reliability, design, and environmental performance. First Solar’s PV modules also hold the distinction of having the lowest carbon and water footprint among all commercially available PV technologies.
First Solar stands out in the solar industry with its unique thin film semiconductor and integrated manufacturing process, coupled with a tightly controlled supply chain. These distinctive features play a crucial role in mitigating the risk of exposure to solar supply chains that may be associated with forced labor, as identified by the US Department of Labor’s 2022 List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor.
First Solar is the sole company among the top ten global solar manufacturers to be a member of the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA), further demonstrating its commitment to responsible and ethical practices. Furthermore, it is also the first PV manufacturer to have its products listed in the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) global registry which highlights the company’s efforts in producing sustainable electronics.
“As America’s Solar Company, we’re pleased that our technology will power the Lawrence County Solar Project,” said Georges Antoun, chief commercial officer, First Solar. “As we scale our manufacturing footprint and supply chains, it is vital that the communities we operate in benefit from our creation of jobs, economic value, and clean electricity produced by our solar technology.”
“TVA remains committed to investing in the energy system of the future for the benefit of the people of the Tennessee Valley that we serve and are pleased to work with First Solar,” said Roger Waldrep, vice president, TVA Major Projects. “Through our work with First Solar, TVA will continue to integrate more renewable generation into our overall portfolio with solar technology developed and manufactured in America.”